Pytka on the Spit

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On Nov. 4 in New York City, ad industry luminaries will gather to roast director Joe Pytka at a benefit for the VCU Adcenter. Pytka -- known for his legendary reel and equally legendary wrath -- was the lead contender when the Adcenter's board met to plan the event, according to managing director Rick Boyko, who credits longtime Pykta collaborator and former BBDO chairman Phil Dusenberry with getting the director on board. "We didn't know if he would do it, but we hoped he would," Boyko says. "Obviously Phil was persuasive."

The first time event, for which tickets start at $500 (call 804.828.8384, ext. 113 for details), will raise money for a scholarship at the Adcenter, the graduate program in advertising at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. Roasters lined up for the evening include Dusenberry, Ted Sann, Michael Patti, Cheryl Berman, Jim Ferguson and Steve Hayden. But, given Pytka's gruff reputation, was it difficult to find people to fan the flames? "It was easy to find people who want to pay him back," Boyko says. "I'm still getting calls from people who would like to roast him. But, in the end, they are all paying their respects for a great body of work."

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